Rotorua's rat problem is reaching "epidemic proportions", according to a local pest control expert.

That's how Bay Pest Services manager Chris Brunel has described the rat situation in the city at the moment.

"It's the worst I have experienced in 28 years in the industry and I don't know of any particular reason for it.

"Usually it's when it's cold in the winter and they seek shelter. It seems our winters are becoming less and less severe, but summer and autumn have been quite mild so that could be a reason."


The Department of Conservation announced last month its plan for a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050.

But Mr Brunel said he didn't think the plan was feasible.

"It may well be the case in DOC land, but how do they get on in urban environments? I think they're dreaming.

"We have so many rats around the suburbs. What are they going to do? Have a helicopter drop? That's not practical."

Mr Brunel said he had been receiving between three or four calls a day about rats.

"It can be dangerous because rats like to chew. They can chew through your plumbing and cause flooding or they can chew through your wiring and cause fires. If you hear them you need to get them sorted right away."

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He said rats were often tree climbers and if people didn't own a cat they would most likely have to deal with them at some stage or another.

Rhys Wolfgram of Total Insect Control said there was a good number of rats around this year.

"We had a busy summer which is unusual as that is normally the quiet period. It led into a busy winter.

"We get calls daily from people inquiring what they can do about rats... it's the busiest winter we have had in a while.

"We often give free advice, it's common sense things. Make sure you reduce any access to rubbish. Secure your compost. If they can afford a bait station get one, just make sure it's out of reach of pets and children. Keep the place clean and tidy."

He said there were two common types of rats in Rotorua, the black rat and the Norwegian roof rat.

He said the black rat was a serious pest to farmers as they ate a wide range of agricultural crops, while the Norwegian roof rat was, as the name suggested, commonly found in roofs.